Being Beta

Exercises in the higher banter with One of 26. Elsewhere called 'poet of adland'. By a whipple-squeezer. Find out why being beta is the new alpha: betarish at googlemail dot com

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Reminiscenews: Weekend World

God knows why I've been thinking about this recently (I suspect it was the Prospect profile of Mandy that did it), but in my sad way, I've been missing Weekend World.

You remember; that wodge of heavy duty current affairs programming that took up the hour before lunch on Sunday, courtesy of LWT. Brian Walden forensically interviewing a politician who, y'know, actually answered the questions asked. Prog rock soundtrack (which I actually downloaded from iTunes this morning.)

Anyway, my thought is - why isn't it more widely available as a resource? I can't be the only politics geek who'd pay to have a best of DVD? Or why not show some old episodes on BBC Parliament? This surely is what initiatives like the BBC's Creative Archive are all about - getting stuff out into the public domain, and seeing what use we make of them.

(BTW: There's plenty of LWT nostalgia on the web. Seems to be the ITV franchise that inspired the most love.)


Monday, June 29, 2009

Commercial: Recession bites

Blackfoot no more
Originally uploaded by SgtRock333
Apologies for the blurry quality of the image, but it's somehow apt for the tears that it will cause. One of London's best butchers, Blackfoot on Charlotte Place, is no more.

Much gnashing of teeth and wailing when Copybot alerted me earlier today. What is to be done? Thankfully the sister foodie havens, Salt Yard and Dehesa, appear to be going strong, but who will now provide the best sandwiches in Fitzrovia?


Commercial: Luke Jackson

Through the digital ether, Luke dropped me a line. I hadn't heard of him before, but I'm rather glad he did - I didn't know they still made chiming power pop of this stripe. This is charming, and the video more so, although I would say, 'Stay! LDN isn't that bad...'


Saturday, June 27, 2009

26 recommendations for June

can be found here.


Thursday, June 25, 2009

Commercial: Spirit of Play

So they're a little bit Belle, a bit more Go-Betweens, and one point appeared to have re-located the first summer of love to Crouch End circa 2001. This is, veritably, a good thing. In the absence of downloadage, they're available for bar mitzvahs &c.


Commercial: Husband for Rent

Husband for Rent
Originally uploaded by SgtRock333
I pass on without comment.

Mainly because any comment that I might make would probably get me into trouble.


Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Commercial: RiP: A Remix manifesto

Via BBH Labs, this has particular interest for me as (regular readers will know) I've been heartily agreeing with Lawrence Lessig for donkey's years now. Although it looks, perhaps appropriately, wearily derivative of what we can call the 'Sundance documentary style', who would have guessed that we'd ever see a film about intellectual property?


Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Commercial: iPlug Air

Fanciful? Not at all, according to Wired UK. Anyone know who's design it actually is?


Commercial: Michael Owen's brand values

It was only a matter of time that this document came out. But instead of laughing at Mr Owen and Wasserman, let's use the opportunity to re-iterate one of the key lessons of branding:

Delivering on your promises

So, when Michael's brand values promise 'fit and healthy' - as the first one!- you'd better hope that's true and accurate. Alas, however unfairly, the perception is otherwise.

And it's hard to see what can change that, short of an extended run in a team. Anywhere. Perhaps another foreign soujourn is the right option at this juncture.



1. Last night, by Gloucester Road tube station. If I was in the target market for this message, I'd turn to knife crime myself. How much more can we patronise 'da youf'? (And yes, I'm aware what I did there - it's called 'effect'.)

knife surrender bin

2. In a phone box on Clapham Road this morning:

the sounds of hurricane winds


Monday, June 22, 2009

Commercial: Radio Fish ID tag

So like the good hand-wringing, organic Guardian liberals that you all are, no doubt you've all been out to see The End of The Line, the latest eco-shock documentary, telling us all that if we don't mend our ways there won't be any fish left for us to munch on. At all.

Which is fine as far it goes. Slightly more problematic is what we do about it.

The best strategy, it appears, is for us to change our choices when out buying fish. There is, naturally, lots of advice on how to go about doing this. Here's what the good people at the Marine Conservation Society advise:

Fish guide 1

Can you see the problem here? Who's going to remember these gradations and classifications and certifications when shopping? Sure, we can print out the PDF and take it round with us, but I'd wager that for most shoppers, this is actually adding complexity to the decision. Especially when you try and apply it to individual species:

Fish guide 2

So, what to do? Well, a digital solution would be the obvious way forward. Widgets like this are a start:

But it still doesn't answer the problem about the lack of information at the point of picking up the fish. For that we need something mobile.

So a suggestion then: slap a RFID tag on every fish caught. God knows what the economics of it would be, but I'll wager it wouldn't be a heinous charge. Enable an iPhone app or some other mechanic ('iFish'?) that can read the tag and tell you immediately whether it's a thumbs up or thumbs down as regards the future safety of our fishy friends.

No need for punters to memorise reams of information about safe fish stocks. And hopefully some happier fish left in the seas.


More revisionist history

This time from Boris Groys:

because the Soviet state was already a huge participatory installation.

This, and other eye-popping musings, can be found in a just-about-followable essay on futurism in this quarter's Tate Etc magazine.


Sunday, June 21, 2009

Revisonist history

Courtesy of Robert Elms, at Kings Place last night, as part of a series of lectures organised under the Story of London banner:

Punk was a coup d'etat by seven hairdressers... a trouser revolution.

More revisionist sub-cultural history available in his memoir The Way We Wore.


Friday, June 19, 2009

Battersea Power Station

Some days you can really love your job. Today was one of them.

Because today, because of an idea, me and two colleagues got a guided tour around one of London's most iconic buildings.

It is at once immense, humbling, crumbling, and full of grandeur. It baffles that bricks of normal size were used to make a building of such immensity. In Power Station A, the level of art deco detailing is amazing. The valves and dials in the control rooms speak of a different age, when the belief in progress was not naive or foolish. The rubble strewn across the site speaks of the wider neglect of the public domain of the last 25 years.

We ran out of superlatives.

The regeneration plans for the site are coming on apace too. For once, a building with a stunning past has a pretty rosy future too.


Commercial: Beer band

Obvious rock merchandising. Why has it taken so long? (hat tip: PSFK)


Thursday, June 18, 2009

Commercial: Cocktail van

Cocktail van
Originally uploaded by SgtRock333
I'm tempted to say, 'Only in Notting Hill'. Van courtesy of Slush Brothers. Presumably available for weddings, bar mitvahs etc.


Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Commercial: Movin' on up

Shovell 31-07-07
Originally uploaded by +Andrea+
Word reaches me that:

Those of you into dance music may well have come across Shovell at one of any number of club nights (currently Defected at Pacha, Ibiza on Saturdays) - or indeed remember him from the M People. He's got loads of energy and is incredibly passionate about what he does and is great at interacting with people of all ages.

His most recent venture is a team-building 'workshop' concept using drumming and rhythm, and is being used by schools and well as corporate organisations including Diesel.

See below for link

A great ice-breaker for conferences and could also be considered for press events etc.

I think it was the inverted commas around 'workshop' that got me. Next time: Keith Moon's tips on beating middle management malaise.


Monday, June 08, 2009

Commercial: Chk Chk Boyle

Quick! Before the copyright police catch up with Copybot! Play her Britain's Got Talent game!